Late last month, United Philanthropy Forum and our partners, Independent Sector and Council on Foundations, wrapped up our first-ever virtual Foundations on the Hill (#FOTH2021). For six days, over 360 attendees got the chance to meet with legislators, network with colleagues, and advocate on behalf of the philanthropy and nonprofit sector via virtual platforms.
During the conference, attendees also participated in a variety of panel discussions about current public policy issues affecting the sector and communities across the country. Specifically, many panel discussions focused on philanthropy’s role in impacting racial equity via advocacy and public policy. Philanthropy often uses its financial and social capital to address areas of inequities that exist in this country. At #FOTH2021 we examined how the sector could continue to grow its political capital and voice to address and change bad public policy that helped create such inequities and advocate for policies that advance racial equity and justice.
Foundations on the Hill is the one time of the year the sector can come together and advocate collectively. But it doesn’t have to be the only time. Whether you have existing relationships with your elected officials or your philanthropy-serving organization (PSO) is in the process of making new ones, the follow-through post-FOTH is just as important as your meetings during FOTH. Staying in touch with your elected officials and their staff on a regular basis will prove vital to their understanding of the role of the sector and the issues we support.
Post-FOTH, the Forum will continue to champion racial equity and justice through our public policy work. We will work to seek solutions that focus on eliminating barriers and inequities while creating equitable opportunities and outcomes. Throughout this pandemic, we have seen so many examples of why this work is critical to building a fair and just society, for all people. By working with our PSO members and advocacy partners, as well as the current Administration and members of Congress, the Forum will advocate and endorse legislative and regulatory solutions committed to racial equity. Our public policy work will also focus on supporting fair tax policy and regulation, enhancing charitable giving, defending and strengthening democracy, promoting civic engagement, and boosting sector inclusion in relief legislation.
#FOTH2021 reminded us of the value of philanthropy and what the sector is capable of when we all come together—even in the middle of a pandemic. It also reminded us how much public policy impacts the work we do, and that advocacy is critical to the success of the sector and crucial to eliminating systemic and structural inequities that persist.
As our advocacy journeys continue, if we continue to work together and advocate in a coordinated and collective fashion, the sector’s influence and voice will grow and communities across the country will benefit.
What does your post-FOTH advocacy journey look like? Feel free to share your stories with us. Please contact me.
Matthew L. Evans
Director of Public Policy
United Philanthropy Forum
Follow me @_MLEvans